Dear red/pink otter pop (that is to say, the best),
Once upon a time--about 909 hours ago, to be exact--I saw this question and began to answer it shortly after you'd seen Board Question #90084 and been clued in to my thereabouts. Unfortunately, my mostly finished response was met with oblivion, and thusly I have no longer know what I was almost done writing. Therefore, let us begin this answer anew.
[2663 hours pass and I am ashamed but do nothing further. Eventually...]
Anyways, so there I was in Doha, Qatar. I am having trouble determining exactly how hot it was that day, but it seems like it was about 91 degrees Fahrenheit at 6 AM, and possibly getting to 107 degrees later in the day, if my weather info is any good. It was easily one of the hottest places I have ever been in my life. Now, I've spent time in some hot places—one summer, for example, I was moving around railroad ties in 105 degree weather at a government base in the desert—I could elucidate, but it sounds more dramatic like that—but good ol' Western U.S. heat is dry heat, so if the temperature fluctuates 15 degrees one way or the other no one really cares. It's just heat. Humidity, though, makes you feel like a sad, wilted piece of lettuce, the kind that gets sweaty as it suffocates.
IN ANY CASE. I do not know how hot it was in Qatar, but owing to its privileged location next to the Persian Gulf indeed the tiny nation of Qatar is hot and humid. Interestingly enough, it's the world's wealthiest country per capita, so ethnically Qatari people seem to be very affluent, and very scarce. In early 2017, Qatar's total population was 2.6 million: 313,000 Qatari citizens and 2.3 million expatriates of other nations. Really, the only place I saw Qatari nationals was inside a fancy-pants shopping mall with AC cranked up to full. Many of the people I met working construction, transportation and food-service jobs--the other 88% of the country, as I understand the demographics--were Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Filipino, Bangladeshi and Ethiopian.
[6334 hours have passed. This has become peak ridiculous.]
In essence, Qatar made me sad. I went to go look for an oryx antelope sanctuary but instead ended up being arrested casually by the police because I took a picture of an oil well, apparently illegal in Qatar as their economy benefits greatly from the rich, chocolatey dinosaur syrup. Thusly, the authorities and I chatted it up for a bit in the nearby police station. This was, like, the fifth time I'd been arrested in as many weeks, most of the other times being in eastern Turkey for looking suspicious/like a hobo/an American hobo in regions of conflict, so by now I more or less had the whole being-interrogated thing down pretty well. I mean, not really, but you can only detain someone for being an idiot for so long **knock on wood**. So it was that after the polizia (pretty sure that means pizza in Amerigo Vespucci-speak for you) determined I was not a threat they asked me, quite naturally, about my dating life.
"So, are you married?"
"How old are you?"
"For you, what is a good age to be married?"
But enough about those guys. They're all married, and like the other married people I know, dead to me.
My brother and I were in the Republic of Georgia and thought we'd have a looksee. Yes, there was a civil war going on a bit ago, but there was also a terrible, awful civil war in Bosnia and people still go there.
[7117 hours have passed, I have a problem]
Ay santo guacamole I have failed, here.
I have some great pictures of Abkhazia I'd like to share with you, but I am struggling to complete a number of tasks I am supposed to be doing in preparation for a journey far more complicated, riskier and damp than my visit to the frozen conflict zones of Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh (now Republic of Arsakh), Turkish North Cyprus, or indeed, Transnistria, which was terribly interesting. To say I haven't had time to edit and share these with you in the time since you asked this question so far is totally untrue, but I've been hitting a creative wall of sorts lately across many mediums for a while now.
I am sorry.
So, Abkhazia? Yes.
Am I nuts? Probably, but I actually think Abkhazia was pretty chill, if sneaky propagandists who don't take good care of monkeys. If I have a lapse in judgement it will show with the next step.
What's next? I've already been to Transnistria, so no, not there. If you are looking for a souvenir from Abkhazia, I've long since left it. It's been even longer since Transnistria, but I might have an extra coin or two I wouldn't mind sending you (not their cool plastic money, though, since I wasn't able to get one for myself). Just send me an email at email@example.com and we'll talk.
What is next?
I'll tell you by email, but if you watch closely over the next couple of weeks it'll start to become evident via my sign-offs. I'm excited and dreading the next couple of months.
--Abkhazia-dilla Feroz, who first saw this question in Baku, Azerbaijan and started to answer it in Qatar on a layover but who gave up on it in Utah
P.S. I'd recommend Atlas Obscura's recent article A Photographer’s Journey Through the Former Spas of Soviet Georgia to see cool and neglected Abkhazian buildings.